A Neurophysiologist Takes These Supplements Daily For Brain Health
When you think of caring for your brain health, what do you envision? Maybe it's getting enough sleep, exercising, brain-stimulating activities, or simply tending to your mental health. Another possibility: consuming brain-healthy nutrients.
Yes, your brain needs certain nutrients in order to thrive, and on a recent episode of the mindbodygreen podcast, neurophysiologist Louisa Nicola, founder of Neuro Athletics, shared her absolute must-haves. To come, her top picks and the research behind their benefits.
A neurophysiologist's favorite supplements for brain health
Nicola takes these supplements daily—and when a neurophysiologist shares her personal brain health lineup, we take notes.
"Honestly, creatine is probably the best thing," Nicola says. Creatine is an amino acid that "is imperative for the brain, and it helps in brain cellular metabolism and energy production," she adds.
However, the brain creates less creatine as you age. "At age 30, our brain begins to atrophy," Nicola says, in part due to a lack of creatine—this is where creatine supplementation really starts to shine.
Research backs up this supplement's impressive benefits: According to a 2021 review study on creatine supplementation and brain health1, consuming the amino acid is associated with improved cognition. Another 2018 review2 found supplementing with creatine could improve short-term memory and intelligence and reasoning.
A common hesitation with starting creatine supplements is the potential bloat that may come along with it. However, Nicola says it's all about dosage, and only those taking 20 grams a day or more have the potential to experience bloat.
As a rule of thumb: Stick with 5 grams daily, Nicola says. You can take these supplements before or after your workout, depending on your preference.
Another worthy brain supplement? Of course, omega-3s. "I am advocating for everyone to supplement with omega-3 fatty acids, specifically EPA and DHA," Nicola says, as these forms help with cell membrane fluidity and overall brain health.
She adds, "We know that it can also ameliorate some of the effects of Alzheimer's disease3, such as the buildup of beta-amyloid." This study3 also notes improvement in learning and memory, decreased inflammation, and reduced neuroloss and neurodegeneration, among other benefits of omega-3 supplementation.
Not sure where to find a trustworthy source? We compiled a list of the 15 best omega-3 supplements on the market right now, all approved by a nutrition Ph.D., to ease your search.
Both creatine and omega-3 supplements have science-backed benefits for overall brain health. To reap these benefits and give your brain the care it deserves, add these two supplements to your routine, or talk with your doctor about the best options to optimize your brain health.
Hannah Frye is the Assistant Beauty Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.S. in journalism and a minor in women’s, gender, and queer studies from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Hannah has written across lifestyle sections including health, wellness, sustainability, personal development, and more. She previously interned for Almost 30, a top-rated health and wellness podcast. In her current role, Hannah reports on the latest beauty trends, holistic skincare approaches, must-have makeup products, and inclusivity in the beauty industry. She currently lives in New York City.